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Panicum.

Panicum colonum Linn. Gramineae. Millet.

Tropics. This millet grows wild in parts of India in sufficient plenty to be collected in times of scarcity to be employed as food.

Panicum decompositum R. Br. Australian Millet.

East Indies and Australia. The aborigines convert the small, millet-like grains into cakes.

Panicum miliaceum Linn. Millet.

Tropics. This species was cultivated in southern Europe in the time of Hippocrates and Theophrastus and was known to the Romans in the time of Julius Caesar. It is the kegchros of Strabo, who states that it thrives excellently in Gaul and is the best protection against famine. It is described by Pliny as constituting the principal food of the Sarmatians, who say that the Ethiopians know of no other grain but millet and barley. It is also mentioned by Hesiod and is referred to as cultivated in Italy by Columella and Virgil. In the embassy of Theodosius to Attila, 448-9 A. D., beyond the Danube, millet was brought the party as provisions, and Johann Schultberger, 1396-1427, speaks of millet as the only grain crop of Siberia and at Zepun on the Black Sea. In France, this millet is cultivated at the present time almost exclusively for forage; in Germany for the grain and also for fodder; in England it is unknown as an agricultural crop. It is cultivated largely in southern and western Asia, in northeastern Africa and to some extent in Italy and in Spain. It appears to be but little known as an agricultural crop in America. Jared Elliot, 1747, speaks of seed being sent him under the name of East India wheat, but he says it was a millet, with small grain, the bigness of a turnip or cabbage seed and of a yellowish color. In 1822 and 1823, there are records of large crops of seed and hay grown in this country under the name of millet, but these may have been of other species than this. There are many varieties grown. Some 30 kinds are given for Ceylon. At the Madras exhibition of 1857, seven kinds were shown.

Panicum pilosum Sw.

South America. This grain is cultivated in India as a bread corn, under the name bhadlee.

Panicum sanguinale Linn. Crab Grass. Finger Grass.

Cosmopolitan. This grain grows in abundance in Poland where it is sometimes cultivated for its seed and is in cultivation in waste ground in America, naturalized from Europe. In Europe, the small-hulled fruit furnishes a wholesome and palatable nourishment called manna grit. This is the common crab grass, or finger grass, of America.


Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.



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